September 30th, 2002


Just think about it. You'll get it.

A few words about the HBO sunday night shows. I watch them all on a regular basis homework or no homework and I've been thinking about what I get out of each of them.

The Sopranos: This is, of course, the big cahoona. The show that everybody watches and everybody AND his dog talks about. It's a cultural icon and a symbol of the way that television as a medium is starting to change, becoming more cinematic and less episodic. Personally I have mixed feelings about the Sopranos. The production values are impecable. The acting is excellent. The plot moves quickly enough and with sufficient twists and turns to keep me interested. On the other hand the Sopranos is a show that seems to revel in its own darkness. Everything is in a constant state of entropic decay on the Sopranos. People die at a far greater rate than they are born (has there been a single birth in the Soprano family in the last 4 years?) and the family unwinds further and further. Every gain is met with two losses and an underlying web of deceit. It's a profoundly pessimistic show.

Of course there's also the fact that it is not as great as its hyped to be and has several flaws, from the balance in what characters get the juicy storylines to certain plot twists that are either overly predictable or overly stupid.

Still the Sopranos is a great show and a good piece of escapism.

Curb Your Enthusiasm: This show is pure pleasure. It is probably the funniest show on television and it has some great relationships with characters who really seem to know eachother. While there is a significant amount of discomfort in the show, there is also an underlying sweetness to it. No matter what happens you know it will be resolved in the end. I also love the sophistication and style the show has. There's intelligence there. The improvisation also helps as it gives it a much more "real" feel.

Mind of the Married Man: This show is like a sickness. I watch it reaffirms my cynacism. It's a filthy show pessimistic in an entirely different way than the Sopranos is because there is hope, but it's hope only for personal pleasure. Everything's a race for your own pleasure and a fight against those you are supposed to be closest to.

The relationships don't work. I find it oddly comforting and disturbing at the same time.

This whole thing was supposed to be more profound but there isn't much profundity in entertainment choice. Still HBOs Sundays do help illustrate what's great AND terrible about entertainment these days. It's too bad that America's too puritanical to allow more shows like those.
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